All posts by Helena

About Helena

Office worker by day, home sewer by night. I sew, thrift, create in order to build my personal, unique, colourful wardrobe.

Dagen før var allting som en sommerflirt

Yes, yesterday was like a summer flirt. I was strolling through Vienna, looking at gorgeous and impressive buildings, just taking in the atmosphere. (The day before that I had attended a ball at Hofburg Imperial Palace, but that’s a topic for another post. Yes, I did make my dress). Anyway, this summer has been filled with travelling, and my how I’ve missed it during the 2 corona pandemic years. I know, I know the pandemic itself is not over, but the restrictions are gone and the impact they’ve had on our lives. This summer I have been to many packed places and haven’t caught as much as a cold, maybe people are staying home when they’re feeling unwell.

This summer we’ve been travelling a lot (4 countries in total: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria). I love the feeling of just been somewhere else, experiencing other cultures. I live in the south of Sweden, but just going across the bridge to Copenhagen really is a shift in culture. Maybe a subtle one to an outsider, but I can definitely feel it. We started the month of July cheering for the world’s finest cyclists as they took on the streets of Copenhagen in the first stage of this year’s Tour de France. Fantastic!

We then took on the Netherlands, with stops in Germany, playing on the beach, visiting Amsterdam and just enjoying life. Then the weekend in Vienna. During all this time, I really got to flex my language skills, which I love doing. In Denmark it was French and Danish, German in Germany and Austria and my Duolingo Dutch in the Netherlands. I did manage to get by, but some of the time it was easier to fall in English; it works most of the time.

However, one thing that is easily done even with limited language skills is fabric shopping. Meter is meter in many languages, and as long as you stick to full ones it’s just easy to hold up fingers indicating the meterage. If you’d like 1.7 meters, it’s a bit trickier, but my German counting skills got me by. (If I’d like 1.25 meters in German, that’s where it gets hard, ein meter, fünf und zwantig (one meter, five and twenty)).

In the Netherlands I took the bike into Alkmaar (what a treat to bike in a country where everyone shows consideration to cyclists!) and Böttger Stoffenwinkel, where I spent some time and money. Beware, some places in the Netherlands don’t accept credit cards, so even if my Visa card is a Debit card (as stated on it) it was declined. Luckily there was an ATM nearby and I could get cash. I bought the following (from top to bottom):

Og i morgen er endelig

Viscose twill, off-white with dots. It will probably be a long-sleeved blouse of some sort.
Cotton/viscose blend, linen look; blue/black with flowers. A summer dress. Something a bit looser than my normal aesthetics, I think.
Stretch denim, light blue: Probably a pair of DD Acajou.

Then in Vienna, my husband and I stuck to our deal on weekend getaways (it’s been exercised once before), that he gets to run for a while and I can visit a fabric shop. So I visited Die Stoffschwester from a tip from Sølvi/Delfine Elise. It was a lovely shop packed with fabrics and I ended up with four pieces. I had originally decided on three, but then that peace sign fabric screamed out to me. I snagged the final piece of it, as well as the yellow floral one.

Whoa

Cotton knit red/white. For a knit top.
Cotton sweatshirt, peace signs. A sweatshirt and perhaps a skirt if the meterage agrees.
Viscose, yellow with flowers. A summer dress. Of course. Or maybe a maxi skirt… We’ll see next summer. Perhaps some flowy trousers as I found that missing in my wardrobe.
Cotton double gauze, blue tie dye. A beach outfit in which I can bike. The beach dresses I have are not suitable for the bike I bought, so if we’re biking to the beach I need something that doesn’t risk getting entangled in the gear wheels and chain.

For a second I did ponder memorizing my Vienna trip with an Edelweiss fabric, but it was white flowers on white, not my style. Had it been the flowers on green, you would have seen in in the picture.

Soundtrack: Dagen Før; Volbeat ft. Stine Bramsen. (A Danish metal band who, in some songs mix English and Danish lyrics, appealing to my bilingual mind.
Yesterday, everything was like a summer’s flirt, but tomorrow it’s final.)

Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

In 2020 I bought myself a racing bicycle and since then we’ve spent many, many kilometres together. I bought it with the intention of eventually cycling to work, but with 2020 and 2021, you can all guess how well that went. Not much point in riding a bike down the stairs from my bedroom to my makeshift home office just below. But we’ve ridden much together without a specific goal.

I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

Since even longer, my husband has been a cycling fan and when Le Tour de France is on for three weeks on end every summer, you get drawn into it. Especially with the superb commentator team of Vacchi/Adamson, whom we can enjoy in Sweden. Also, because I happen to love France, one day our vacation will be to France during the Tour so we can see some world class cycling at one of the famous climbs.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike

This year however, the Grand Départ is in Copenhagen, so it’ll be easy to pop over the Öresund for a day of cycling. So exciting! Of course I needed a special outfit for the occasion, in a fabric I’ve been searching for during a very long time. I give you my Tour de France dress!

I want to ride my bicycle, races are coming your way

I told a coworker of mine that I was wearing a dress like this, and she said, without maliciousness, that “it sounds like something you would do”. Then she added I would be easy to spot, should we bump into each other in Copenhagen on the day of. I choose to interpret this that my personal style has a sense of humour to it, I didn’t ask what she meant, but like I said, there was no maliciousness to the words.

Of course, I used a French pattern, the Belladone dress from Deer and Doe. At the top it’s a size 42, graded to a 44 from the waist down; I also added my usual length and also lengthened the skirt. The back opening gaps like crazy on me so I removed a good wedge out of both the lower and upper bodice, which made the cut out a bit smaller, but I also think it shifted the dress a bit backwards, the waistband isn’t perfectly straight in the side view. But who is? The fabric is in homage to the mountain jersey , of the Tour de France, big polka dots. So, now I’m ready for the Grand Départ (and other nice summer days) in my new dress.

Soundtrack: Queen – Bicycle Race

It’s Been A Year Or Two Since I Was Out On The Floor

In August 2019 I bought tickets for the May 2020 Green Day concert in Stockholm. Then it was pushed to May 2021. Now, June 2022, it finally happened! And in the meantime Weezer was added to the lineup, which was such a pleasant surprise!

shakin’ booty, making sweet love all the night

I saw Green Day in concert in 2017, so I kinda knew what to expect. And, let me tell you, they know how to put on a show. There are great songs, pyrotechnics, this time they had added interesting cameras (I was mesmerized by one placed one the head of Mike Dirnt’s bass guitar as he was playing the Longview riff). Weezer on the other hand didn’t have so much of a show, but man are those songs great. It felt like seeing an old friend again wondering why we don’t meet up more often. So, to counteract the fact that I haven’t listened to a lot of Weezer lately (I did listen to them back in the day, and they were in my top 3 band for 2020 on Spotify)) I’ve been blasting them in the car these past days. And singing out loud, thankfully I drive alone. I’m a born again Weezer fan! (I never stopped being a Green Day fan)

It’s time I got back to the good life

Just as five years ago, I feel at a loss at the what to wear to a rock concert, my wardrobe doesn’t reflect my inner rocker persona (even if I did try to rectify that, I didn’t get to the interesting black and white fabrics of this plan). I have some ideas how to rock up my wardrobe. This outfit, however, is not one of them.

It’s time I got back, it’s time I got back, and I don’t even know how I got off the track

I don’t know what prompted me to make a cheerleader outfit, but here it is. I wanted a petrol light jacket, to be worn indoors, and I bought some extra of this stretch cotton sateen to make a matching set. To spice things up, in my very subdued way, I bought a silver lining fabric, silver zipper and some iron-on stars, also silver. Such a good combo, the petrol and silver. 

Both patterns are Burdastyle, and both were in that good place of having interesting details to sew, but still not too tricky (even if the jacket had to pause following a scant week of covid). The instructions were a bit sparse regarding the insertion of the zipper with the main fabric, lining and rib neckline, I did my thing which I don’t think is entirely correct, but it works. As for alterations, while the skirt has none, the jacket body is lengthened 5 cm, and the sleeves by some bit. I didn’t write it down. Unfortunately, I should have added a bit more, they were designed to be ¾ sleeves, I wanted them full length but they are a tad too short. I think I’m the only one it bothers. I also added what became over-dimensioned welt pockets to the front of the jacket, following this tutorial (in Swedish) by Frk Wiberg.

I wanna go back, YEAH!

Even though they are designed as a set, I haven’t yet worn them as such. The pieces have been worn individually but not together, and I’m not sure they will. Unless I’m at some point going to a fancy dress party as a cheerleader. 

Patterns: Burda 125-02-2013 (jacket); Burda 109-10-2017 (skirt)
Fabric: Petrol cotton sateen from tyg.se; Silver acetate lining and grey rib knit from Selfmade
Notions: Metal zipper; invisible zipper; interfacing; iron-on stars
Also wearing: Covid Briar (not sure it’s a good match). I really did like my Me-Made-May outfit of the skirt paired with the floral Aubetura.

Soundtrack: The Good Life by Weezer.

Me-Made-May; Last Days and Lessons Learnt

Me-Made- May, Day 25-31 (ish)

Day 25: No pic, but wearing the same as on last Saturday (day 21). We had an outdoor party at work, so I dressed for that.

Day 26: Another thing we’ve been waiting a long time for, our annual outing to the horse race track! Carousels, betting, burgers, donuts; great day.
Wearing: Sysysy-dress (which has been getting some holes around the neckline) and star sweatshirt. A total Jenny Hellström day.

Day 27: Squeeze day (ie. a day between a bank holiday (Ascension day) and the weekend). I went to get my hair cut, finally fringe again.
Wearing: Pinda trousers, Stevie Budd t-shirt, Denim jacket (RTW)

Days 28-29: I didn’t leave the house much, but I did wear a pair of me-made shorts, as well as my Covid Briar. They are comfortable, but not photogenic. I also wore my denim Pinda and my Star Sweatshirt, as pictured.

Day 30: By now I was hoping to wear more bare legs and leave the sweaters at home. The weather doesn’t agree with me.
Wearing: Rhombus trousers, black Simone t-shirt and Green Briar.

Day 31: Last day and I’ve made through yet another month of documenting my clothes, although I did fell of the wagon in the end. I decided to go full circle and end the month in the same skirt in which I started it, although I did prefer the outfit on day 1.
Wearing: Turquoise skirt, grey Lane Raglan and White Zip cardigan.

Alongside Me-Made-May, since January I’ve also used the 30 wears app, after reading about it on Andrea’s blog. It’s a wardrobe log, which clothes did I wear, with the basis in asking the question “will I wear it 30 times?” Since I didn’t start from scratch, some clothes are discarded before the 30 wears, but they have surely reached it before. It has helped me figure out which of my pieces I like to wear, and also which pieces I usually match. I add pieces when I wear them, so there are some unaccounted for in the app, I take this into consideration when seasonally switching wardrobes.

I did identify some gaps in my wardrobe. For work I realized I enjoy wearing light jackets over tops; while I have a selection of those pieces in my wardrobe, I’d like to make some more office appropriate knit tops (my office is pretty casual, but I like to have some interest in my clothes). I probably do not need to add to the light jacket quota at the moment, but I do need a spring/autumn jacket; I have a pattern in mind, but I haven’t decided on what type of style of fabric to use.

During the course of the month, I ripped up my two colourful trousers, the turquoise chinos and my coral trousers with all the cool zipper details. When Deer & Doe sadly (but understandably) discontinued their paper lined I picked up the Acajou trousers, but maybe they’ll be a bit too heavy for spring trousers. I also bought some Burda magazines off FB marketplace with some interesting knit tops, watch this space!

Evaluating my wardrobe regularly surely is good, and I’m getting to the point where I’m liking a lot of the stuff in my wardrobe and better at identifying (and making) gaps. However, don’t be fooled. I still have days when I have nothing to wear.

Me-Made-May 2022; Day 13-24

May is moving on and here are my next 12 outfits. For the first half of the month, click here.

Days 13-16

Day 13: Today at work, I just wanted to be comfortable. A t-shirt dress to the resuce!
Wearing: Venus Dress and RTW Cardigan.

Day 14: We had friends over for dinner today and out of context my exclaim that “I hate this time of year” seems off. But in context, it was that we discussed how hard it was to get dressed for these in-between temperatures, especially if you’re leaving the house. You want to go bare-legged, and during the day you can, but in the evening you need to cover your legs and that’s boring. Still, I was at home, so I had more freedom.
Wearing: Purple Aubépine

Day 15: Cleaning up from yesterday’s gathering, biking and sewing a toile for a very exciting project were the items on today’s agenda. The very exciting project? My husband and I are going to attend a ball (!) in Vienna (!!) in August, so today I sewed the first torn bedsheet version of How To Do Fashion’s Marrakesh pattern. I love the neckline and style of the dress and I hope it will look good in the purple taffeta I’ve bought. First toile looks very promising, but I need to ponder it for a while.
Wearing: Covid Briar and unseen shorts (cause they don’t deserve to be seen. Very comfy though).

Day 16: Back to the office after a nice weekend. I stopped by the library to pick up a book I’d booked (Egalia’s Daughters) and took todays photo in the library.
Wearing: Coral Trousers, Striped Wrap top and RTW jacket.

Days 17-20

Day 17: One of my favourite fabric and pattern pairings in a while, and premiere wearing of my recent denim Chardon. This skirt is so lovely!
Wearing: Denim Chardon, Simone T-shirt and RTW jacket.

Day 18: Right before snapping this picture I managed to cut my finger on my key, don’t ask me how, so the pose is a bit awkward. The 1.5 cm cut on my right index finger had just begun to bleed, but I didn’t feel like going inside to take care of it and then going back out for the photo.
Wearing: Green Aubetura and Rhombus trousers

Day 19: Fun day! After work I met my sister and dad for “dinner and a show”. The dinner was delicious tapas and the show was the music of Benny Andersson. Mostly known for being one B of ABBA, his musical deed is so much bigger, covering everything from pop, to musicals, to Swedish folk music. I love listening to live music, and hearing a symphony orchestra, well there’s something special about it. I scoured the internet and found the music sheet for Födelsedagsvals till Mona (birthday valse to Mona (Benny’s wife)), and I hope to learn them over the weekend. It’s such a beautiful piece!
Wearing: Sunshine shirt dress and white zip cardigan. The tights came off later in the day, making this my first bare-legged day out and about.

Day 20: Apparently, I dressed in discarded French military uniform today; blue, white and red. The story, which I was told, was that the French didn’t believe in camouflage, that they would intimidate the enemy just on presence alone, and then they had to make their presence known by dressing in bright colours. I did as well, but not as a not the French military. However, the fit of these trousers is really bothering me, excess fabric in the crotch and too tight over the calves. I was ready to rip them apart, salvaging the zippers and button, but then I was distracted by my recently printed music sheet.
Wearing: Coral Trousers, Denim Datura, White Zip cardigan.

Days 21-24

Day 21: My husband and daughter were away all weekend, my son and I were home together. To both our tastes we did our own things and met for mealtimes. We both enjoyed the day.
Wearing: Pinda Trousers, Eloise Hoodie and T-shirt with bows.

Day 22: The intention was to spend this day in the same manner as yesterday, but since it was my sister’s birthday she invited us to a café for some cake. Can’t say no to that! I got compliments on the dress, specifically the tucks along the bodice and sleeves. I had been worried that they’d get lost in the busy print, but as it turned out; they didn’t.
Wearing: Purple Aubépine and RTW denim jacket

Day 23: Despite better judgment, I wore the coral trousers again and they were still ill-fitting and too tight (I mean, there is a reason why the linked post for them is “Sewing fails 2019”). So I ended the day by ripping out all those zippers and the buttons to go on a new project. At the same time I also noticed that the turquoise chinos I wore earlier in the month were pretty badly torn (cheap fabric) and now I’ve ended up with no trousers in a fun colour. I need to change that!
Wearing: Coral Trousers, Scissors Shirt, RTW jacket.

Day 24: I’m abroad (Outside Royal Arena in Copenhagen)! In November 2019 my sister and I bought tickets to see Trevor Noah and today was the day it was finally happening. Even sitting in the arena waiting for Trevor himself to show it was a surreal feeling. My sister, having admired the tucks two days earlier, said she liked the skirt, but was relieved to find out that I hadn’t made all the embroidery, the fabric was bought as such.

Wearing: Denim Chardon, Striped Stella, RTW/Thrifted Jacket

Stay tuned for the final days and my lessons learnt.

Me-Made-May 2022; Days 1-12

The Pledge

While I never did announce it here, over on Instagram I am taking part in Me-Made-May 2022. As this was the month we returned to the office full time, as well as having several social engagements; my pledge was focused on that. After 2 year of social distancing, how does my wardrobe hold up?

Days 1-4

Day 1: One aspect of returning full time to the office is that I can finally remove the last pieces of office from my sewing room. I put the screen in the closet and tidied up the rest. I do look forward to having separate spaces for work and play, even though I need to commute every day. It’s about 20 minutes one way, a mostly lovely drive in the countryside while listening to a podcast, it’s not that bad.
Wearing: A Sysysy-dress in pique.

Day 2: For the first days of Me-Made-May I must squeeze in the garments that are soon no longer weather-appropriate. I did this in this combo, one I found I liked a lot more than expected. The blouse is polyester, so it’ll be uncomfortable in warmer temperatures, and while I hemmed it sing bias tape, I can see that the hemline is beginning to unravel. This day I solved it by wearing it tucked in, but I really should mend it properly.
Wearing: Aubetura blouse and Burda skirt

Day 3: Again, an outfit for a bit more chilly weather. These will very soon get put away until the autumn.
Wearing: Airelle blouse and Burda trousers

Day 4: Pairing this dress and my pink Converse shoes has been on my mind for quite a while, so today I pulled them out of the wardrobe. I like the combination!
Wearing: Aubépine dress, RTW blazer.

Days 5-8

Day 5: One thing about my work is that it sometimes requires long legged trousers (it’s, at the moment, partly a construction site and to enter that part that type of dressing is mandatory). Since I might need to go out there today I wore my chinos, paired with a t-shirt and sweatshirt. While I do like the pieces individually, I felt this outfit lacking in something; colour perhaps, especially in the t-shirt/trousers combo. In order to be able to dress more freely, this was the day I brought an old pair of trousers and a long-sleeved t-shirt to keep at work, that way I could go the construction site no matter what I dressed in that morning.
Wearing: Sara Chinos, star sweatshirt, blue striped wrap top (unseen)

Day 6: This day I knew I needed long-legged trousers (in addition, we also need high-vis vest, safety shoes, hardhat, goggles and gloves; I didn’t take a photo in full get-up). While it’s not more colourfulthan yesterday’s outfit; I still liked it more. Same trousers, same sweatshirt, just a different top. And shoes. Maybe pink Converse can save any outfit? I made these trousers in a cheap twill, and I noticed later that they have ripped along the back welt pocket. Sigh!
Wearing: Sara Chinos, Bruyere shirt, Star sweatshirt (not in picture)

Day 7: Weekend at last! That in-between weather. After my workout I ventured into the city to listen to a concert in which my kid was playing. The School of Cultures is in a 100 year old building, so I posed in the staircase, I love old time staircases (this one is my favourite), so I couldn’t resist the opportunity. In the evening we had friends over for dinner and hanging out (laughing till I cried. Good times!)
Wearing: Coral trousers and Covid Briar

Day 8: A chill Sunday at home. Cleaning up after last night, and finishing my purple Aubépine were the items on my agenda.
Wearing: Grey Brumby and Red Knit top.

Days 9-12

Day 9: I wanted to add some colour to my work outfit and settled on a green Aubétura and denim skirt. I really like the design lines of the skirt, they shine in this fabric, but I’m not convinced it pairs well with the Aubétura blouse. Ah, well.
Wearing: Green Aubetura and Olga in Denim

Day 10: If yesterday was about colour, today was about neutrals. Premiere wearing of my rhomb trousers, paired with my scissors shirt. I think the shirt lends enough humour to the outfit as to not get boring.
Wearing: Rhomb Trousers and Scissors shirt.

Day 11: Work again, but with an added team activity of shuffleboard and dinner in the evening. In order to have some wine, I took public transport today, which is why I am wearing my work backpack on the way to the bus stop, instead of having it in the car waiting to be driven to work. I can take public transport door to door, however it takes at least 45 minutes each way and clashes with pickups/drop-offs at school. And in the same time I could theoretically bike to work.
Wearing: Coral Trousers and White Bruyere.

Day 12: Tired morning. I wish it was Friday, so I went for a casual Friday look. That said, around the office you see people in all types of wardrobe around here. If you’re eagle-eyed, you’ll see that the bomber jacket of today, matches the skirt of day 1. Although I haven’t worn them together yet.
Wearing: Rhomb Trousers, Teal Bomber and RTW t-shirt

Sewn: An Aubépine for Summer

For my own sewing, I prefer paper patterns. I like having them in my stash, sorting through them, I prefer working with one large sheet, rather than taped together sheets. Although sometimes I get flustered by too thin paper. But if paper patterns are available I’ll buy them over pdf-patterns. And if only pdf-pattern are available, it must be something I really, really love for me to consider it. Or, you know, a free pattern.

It was a windy day. But alas, where I live, all days are windy.

Therefore I was a bit saddened by the news that Deer and Doe would discontinue their printed pattern line, going forward they would only offer pdf-patterns, and the paper patterns currently in stock were the last one. Now, I love me some Deer and Doe, the styles are nice, they are drafted for a body shape near mine and I don’t need to make many adjustments to get a pretty good fit. So I browsed through their catalogue and ordered the Acajou trousers and the Passiflore dress. Hopefully, it’ll be something for fall.

Light and flowy for summer

For today let’s talk about my newest Aubépine. I’m really getting my money’s worth from this pattern, and I’m not yet slowing down. This is my fourth iteration (one, two, three) and I still feel like I’m not done with the pattern. It turned out, in combination with D&D’s Datura, to be a good woven t-shirt, and I’m pondering just using the lining piece, omitting the tucks for an even sleeker look. Woven t-shirts are nice to wear, so it might be a future project.

The drafting is good here. An empire waist that does not make me look pregnant.

Like I said, I don’t need to make many adjustments to D&D patterns. For the Aubépine I cut a straight size 42 and add 4 cm length between the dart and tucks, and a little more at the bottom of the bodice and top of the skirt. I’m thinking maybe I should shorten the dart a bit as well, but now we’re really into fine tuning of the pattern and the fit. This style of dress I foresee to be very nice in warm weather, with it floaty nature. I also foresee it being good for eating a good meal, as it’s volumounous around the waist and the drawstring can be loosened. Yum, food!

See, the tcuks are there. They just get lost in the adorable print.

In a style discussion with some sewing friends, when discussing print preferences I said that I didn’t like the typical small floral print usually associated with Liberty of London fabrics. But, here I am in a small floral print dress. Maybe it’s not just about the print and also about the colours, the Liberty fabrics always seem so muted to me, I prefer a bolder colour scheme, such as this black/purple/yellow combo. I think there’s enough left over to make a top of some sort as well.

Pattern: Deer And Doe Aubépine

Fabric: Lightweight cotton from Selfmade, lined with voile.

Sewn: A Deer and Doe Denim Duo

As you may have noticed, I prefer taking my pictures outdoors, in natural light. As I live fairly up north, during winter we don’t have a lot of sunlight, which is an issue for my half-assed self-timer phone photos. And, now, even though it’s April, we’re past equinox so daylight is no longer an issue, the weather continues to throw me for loops.

April weather in Sweden is notorious for its constantly changing weather, logically dubbed “April weather”. In the grand scheme this means that one day can feel like summer, the next can have hail and frost. This, according to Wikipedia has to do with the fact that the sun warms the ground, but high up in the atmosphere, where the clouds are formed, it still cold. Last week we had the ultimate April weather day; in one day we had rain, snow, sunshine, hail and thunder. Late March usually gives us a glimpse of hope for warmer weather, but April sure knows how to knock us straight to the ground.

While the weather is keeping me on my toes with regards to warmer weather, my sewing is already there. Summer clothes are on my agenda! Last year I bought a remnant piece of this lovely embroidered chambray, and immediately pictured it as a Deer and Doe Chardon, perfect for summer. I jokingly suggested to my husband to go full 70s with bell bottoms and the border print there, or just a maxi, he didn’t seem to realise that those things are not my personal style at all. However, the Chardon fits in with my preferred silhouette. The border embroidery was on the cross-grain, and with what was left over, I was able to cut a Deer and Doe Datura. The Datura is a basic woven tank, with the yoke and a dart to give it shape. For this version I omitted the collar and I cut the back on the center fold. I used a scrap for my stash as lining for the inner yokes.

The Chardon is pretty easy to fit, since it only needs to fit in the waist and there are several places to play with some width; in all the pleats as well as the side seams. For the Datura, I cut a straight 42, and added 2 cm each to the yoke and the bodice piece. I like these pieces and I do like the faux dress look they create. Now I just need the April weather to make way for some actual spring.

Fabric: Embroidered chambray from tyg.se

Patterns: Deer and Doe Chardon (skirt) and Datura (top)

Sewn: Striped Bruyère

I am lucky to live in a part of the world where I wake up to news of war, instead of waking up to war itself. It’s a privilege. And in my privileged world, it is, relatively easy, to block out those horrors occasionally. I listened to a psychology podcast, about how it is human nature to want to “do something”, whether it be hoarding toilet paper or, as in this case, feel the urge to help by donating your discarded clothes and toys. But humanitarian organisations say themselves that money is a better option, in order to provide refugees with what they need, not to disrupt local economies and not to block roads for incoming traffic with more urgent supplies.

It feels like the easy way out to throw money at the problem, and then go about my day, but if that’s what is requested I will do so. The guilty conscience I feel about my privilege should not be handled by those in need or those providing help. We did a collection at work, in the name of our Ukrainian group member, I donated some more money on my own. Then I decluttered some patterns I had meant to sell, which I did, but instead of taking the money for myself, I said that the price was a donation to UNICEF or UNHCR, the buyers did donate more than my asking price. A Swedish foundation has also promised to double all donations made in Sweden to those two organisations, so it’s a double win.

Working with my hands has always been a good stress and anxiety relief for me, through covid, through a parent’s illness and death, and yes, it is a privileged statement, even now.

I have made the Bruyère shirt twice before. Once in a stretch cotton (which looked OK mainly due to the stretch in the fabric. And again, I think the proportions are off for me) and once in flannel (cosy, but I used snaps which couldn’t handle the thickness of the fabric and fell off, leaving holes). While I did like the look, I felt overwhelmed in those shirts. As I learnt after several years of sewing, I have a long torso. For Deer and Doe patterns I always add 4-5 cm (that 2”) above the bust dart in order to get the waist right. This make for A very long bodice. My long torso is then combined with, for my height, short legs and the shirt, as designed, ended up very long.

As I have zero creative instinct, the pattern was left untouched for a while. Then I stumbled across Sally’s aka. The Quirk Peach, blog. Due to fabric constraints she had made the Bruyère with a straight hem and I really liked the proportions of the shirt, plus it does seem a bit easier to style in more outfits. So I blatantly copied her. And I like this shirt much better, based on the time I wore it for the photos. But hey, I’m allowed back in the office 3 days a week now, so it’ll be fun to wear something a bit more office appropriate again.

The fabric is a “blouse fabric” (that is how it is labelled. I played with the stripes on the waistband and yoke; the piece I had also required its fair share of pattern tetris, but it worked out in the end. Sally mentioned that her reasoning for the straight hem Bruyère was a lack of fabric, truth be told it was the same. But when I saw Sally’s picture, it all fell into place.

Outfit:

Deer And Doe Bruyère in striped cotton from Tyg.se (out of stock)

Barney/Rose Skirt

Sewn: A Pentalogy of Briars

T-shirts are often something I come back to when I need a palette cleanser. Or when I need a t-shirt. After inevitably catching Covid at the end of January (which, in my case, omicron variant, was in line with a mild flu) I wanted an easy project to get back to the sewing machine, one that didn’t require a lot of thinking or complex techniques, as the project I’m otherwise working on at the moment is a bomber jacket.

I had found a fun piece of viscose jersey in the remnant bin at Selfmade (formerly Stoff och Stil), which was enough for a t-shirt. After looking through my collection of t-shirt and other knit top patterns, I eventually settled on Megan Nielsen’s Briar. Viscose knit are a bit of my Achille’s heel, I like the look of them, but for me they very easily can fall into nightgown territory, especially the more light weight ones, and they can lose shape with time.

Since I’ve made 5 Briars in total, I figured I could present them all in order, as I honestly don’t have a lot to say about each one.

Number 1 – The Yoga Briar

This one was sewn as a layering piece in a very soft cotton jersey from Ohlssons tyger. It’s the cropped top, but lengthened, I found the original length of the cropped version way too short and it would probably end up cutting off my breasts in a weird and unflattering way. I wore this over dress shirts and t-shirts, for work and for leisure, however after some rounds in the washing machine the fabric began to pill and lost its finesse. It has since been regulated to yoga wear, and it’s a great layering piece for yoga, providing warmth without getting in the way of poses.

Number 2 – The linen Briar

Linen knits were heavily discussed in my FB wardrobe planning group and when I found some in the remnant bins at Ohlssons I picked it up. For this Briar, I straightened the hem. The fabric was too see-through to wear on its own, which is, to be honest, not what you want in a t-shirt. The fabric was very delicate and after a while I got some runs in, delegating it to the trash. Sad, but true.

Number 3 – The Faux denim Briar

For this one I sized down, since the grey version felt a bit too big and made the shoulders a bit wider. I used a denim cotton/lycra knit from Stoff och Stil. However, when cutting the pattern I didn’t consider which way had the greatest stretch, so the greatest stretch runs lengthwise. It makes for a very tight t-shirt, also the neckline binding became very lumpy. Also I’m not sure about the pocket placement as is, though I’m not sure what would have been a better one. This square pocket is an odd shape on me, I prefer the semi-circle pocket of my grey Briar. Sadly, due to the aforementioned reasons, I don’t wear this Briar a lot.

Number 4 – The Pleated Briar

I needed to replace my grey layering Briar and this time I went with colour! A cotton/lycra mix, with pleats, purchased at Bernt I Lund. I like the pop of colour this sweater adds to an outfit.

Number 5 – The Covid Briar

The most recent one! In the end I think I cut off 15 cm from the long-length version. With these normal-waisted trousers my tummy does do a bit of peek-a-boo, so it might not be office appropriate. But the t-shirt is very comfortable and I do like the length, I think it will look good over high-waisted shorts.

So, if I had to pick a favourite… Well, it’s not that hard. The emerald green Briar!